By Jagatguru Gauranga dasa
Ratha Yatra Festival of Lord Jagannath is one of the largest festivals of ISKCON, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ratha Yatra Festival-2013 of Lord Jagannath was organized by ISKCON, Dhaka at temple premises for nine days, starting from 10th July through 18 July June,2013.
Festivities started early on the first day, with chanting beginning at 7.30 am at ISKCON Swamibag Temple, followed by forty-four Yajnas to invoke auspiciousness and world peace on the morning of the Ratha Yatra.
After the discussion meeting, at 1.00 pm, with distinguished guests from home and abroad, on the importance and spiritual value of Ratha Yatra, the Ratha Yatra procession was inaugurated by the distinguished guests. Overwhelming crowds of people poured into the streets of Dhaka to participate in ISKCON’s Ratha Yatra festival on the 10th July. During the procession in Bangladesh’s capital city Dhaka,more than 60,000 people participated as the traditional three colorful chariots carrying the Lord Jagannath, His brother lord Baladeva and sister Smt Subhadra Devi were pulled by devotees.Throughout the procession more than ten kirtan parties loudly resounded the holy names of the Lord., A Food For Life van distributed Maha-Prasadam-sanctified vegetarian food through a vast sea of humanity.The colorful rally retired at the Dhakeswari National Temple after three hours.
Bangladesh has about 85% Muslim population, many of whom also participated in the Ratha Yatra procession.During the whole journey of the three colorful Chariots through a busy road of more than 8 kilometers tens of thousands of people stood by both sides of the roads enjoying the colorful parade. Dhaka Metropolitan Police made the entire road traffic free to facilitate the Chariot movements without any obstacles.
During nine-days-long programs different cultural groups from India as well as from Bangladesh performed Harinam Sankirtan, Padavali Kirtans, Dramas, Vedic dances, seminars etc. His Holiness Bhakti Nityananda Swami Maharaja from Mayapur
(India) explained some of Lord Jagannath’s pastimes in his speech. Approximately 100 thousand dishes full Krishna Prashadam were distributed among the visitors during the Festival.
At the end on the 18th July, His Holiness Bhakti Priyam Gadadhar Goswami Maharaja inaugurated the Return Car Festival along with the chief guest Dr. Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin, member of the National Parliament of Bangladesh. The Chariots started from Dhakashwari Temple in the afternoon and followed the same Road map and retired at Swamibag ISKCON Temple. Hundreds and thousands of devotees similar to the opening ceremony spontaneously joined the festival and begged Lord Jagannath’s mercy.
Most of the Televion channels and national newspapers of Bangladesh covered the Ratha Yatra Festival’s news with significance. Especially the national TV channel
(Bangladesh Television) telecast a 30 minutes program on ISKCON Dhaka Ratha Yatra Festival.
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